Metro Areas With Higher STEM Knowledge Have Stronger Economies

Perhaps this statement is a tad too obvious. The Brookings Institute, in their on-going studies of STEM jobs and the US economy, have determined that metropolitan areas with higher STEM knowledge (i.e. individuals with BA’s or MA’s in STEM, STEM-related companies and employment) are exceeding other metropolitan areas in economic growth. For example, the median household income for a top STEM metro like Washington, D.C., is $54,482. The median income for a bottom STEM metro, on the other hand, is $44,184.

The Birmingham/Hoover metro ranks as one of the top STEM metros in the South. The share of STEM workers in our area is 20.7%, and with new companies coming in that share is quickly growing. Some of the top STEM metros include the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA metro, where 33.2% of the workforce operates within STEM occupations, and the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV metro, where 27.1% of the workforce is in a STEM occupation of some kind. In the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro, average earnings for STEM workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher were $115,744, while in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro earnings for STEM workers with a similar education level were $101,058. In both metros, over 70% of STEM jobs required a bachelor’s or higher degree of education.

These are just some of the facts surrounding STEM and the economy. Do you work in the STEM field, or does your current occupation include STEM requirements? Tell us what you think! Be sure to follow us @thinkdatasol and @TechEd4TheDelta, our initiative to bring STEM education to the Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit


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